Scientists have found that depression may be able to change the structure of our brain's white matter.
The white matter in our brain has the fiber tracts that facilitate the communication between brain cells. Scientists have found that when white matter experiences disruptions, it can cause problems with the way we process emotions and the way we think.
It's well-known that depression can do quite a number on us. It can affect our personal, professional, and academic lives. There are existing treatments for depression, but scientists are always on the search for better and more effective treatments.
Fortunately, though depression is bleak, these new findings can lead to newer and more effective ways to deal with depression. Finding out how disruptions in white matter can affect our mood can lead to new ways to treat tthis condition. Scientists can also discover ways to predict depression, or to see how the structure of white matter can protect against it.
Researchers set up a study that included 3,461 people—a large sample size that can lend more weight to the findings of the research. A new and innovative technique called diffusion tensor imaging enabled the researchers to figure out the structure of white matter. The researchers found that people who reported having experienced depression exhibited lower white matter quality. People who did not report any symptoms of depression did not exhibit the same changes in white matter.
Diffusion tensor imaging allowed the researchers to gain the best images yet of white matter. The researchers were thus able to create models of the fibers in better detail.
Based on their findings, researchers think that depression may have brought about the aforementioned changes in the brain. However, the researchers also admit that it may still be too early in the game to make final conclusions. They have yet to confirm their findings and make sure they will hold up under scrutiny.
In spite of this lack of concrete conclusions, the study is still a step forward in understanding more about depression. The World Health Organization has said that over 300 million people worldwide, across all ages, have experienced depression at one point in their lives or another. Depression can be a serious condition, which makes finding the most effective treatments for it of utmost importance.
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